Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1998

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Author: William J. Clinton  | Date: February 27, 1998

Letter to Members of the Federal Election Commission on Campaign Finance Reform,
February 27, 1998

To the Members of the Federal Election Commission:

Yesterday’s defeat of comprehensive campaign finance reform legislation in the Senate makes it even more imperative that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) act to end the soft money system.

On June 4, 1997, I petitioned the FEC to act within its current statutory authority to end the soft money system. Your General Counsel, Lawrence Noble, has concluded that the FEC does, in fact, have the legal authority to act. This would be a major breakthrough for reform. I understand you have asked the General Counsel to explore other options—but the inability of the Congress to act on this vital public matter underscores how urgent it is that the FEC proceed without delay.

The rules governing soft money are principally the legacy of decades of decisions by the FEC. You have it in your power to act now to end this system. If no action is taken, then in coming years the fundraising arms race that has consumed both parties will only worsen.

The Senate’s failure to pass campaign finance reform legislation means the most realistic next steps for reform will come from the actions of regulatory agencies, acting within their legal authority, to renew our democracy. I thank the FEC for the steps it has taken thus far and urge you to press forward to end the soft money system.

Sincerely,

William J. Clinton

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Chicago: William J. Clinton, "Letter to Members of the Federal Election Commission on Campaign Finance Reform, February 27, 1998," Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1998 in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, February 27, 1998 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998), 34:2540 Original Sources, accessed February 4, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=84QXP7VLA1DUSDM.

MLA: Clinton, William J. "Letter to Members of the Federal Election Commission on Campaign Finance Reform, February 27, 1998." Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1998, in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, February 27, 1998 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998), 34:2540, Original Sources. 4 Feb. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=84QXP7VLA1DUSDM.

Harvard: Clinton, WJ, 'Letter to Members of the Federal Election Commission on Campaign Finance Reform, February 27, 1998' in Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1998. cited in , United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, February 27, 1998 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998), 34:2540. Original Sources, retrieved 4 February 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=84QXP7VLA1DUSDM.